At the end of December 2016, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) that would fund the federal government until April 28, 2017. The CR froze most government funding, including education, at 2016 levels with a 0.19% across the board cut to all programs.
In the next several weeks Congress will need to reach an agreement on spending levels for the remaining months of Fiscal Year 2017. Congress will only be in session for a little over a week between now and midnight on April 28, as they will soon be on spring recess. The Senate and House appropriations committee are planning to have a bill ready by the week of April 24.
Just recently, the Trump Administration provided Congress a list of possible cuts to make in the Fiscal Year 2017 bills, including almost $3 billion of cuts to Department of Education programs including: Pell Grants, Supporting Effective Instruction (Title II) State Grants, Comprehensive Literary Development Grants, and Title IV Block Grants. These cuts would help to fund proposed increases for FY 2017 in the President’s budget for defense programs, border security including the proposed wall on the U.S. – Mexico border and ISIS. It appears that the appropriators have little or no appetite for consideration of drastic cuts to non-defense discretionary programs half way through the fiscal year. Let’s hope that is true!
So, what’s next? The most likely scenario is that Congress will pass another continuing resolution through September 30, 2017 with limited additional defense spending and limited cuts to non-defense spending, maintaining most at the 2016 funding level.
Go to CEC’s Legislative Action Center before April 28th to tell your member of Congress to invest in special and gifted education, early intervention and research programs.